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While the protests continue in Ferguson, little attention is being paid to a massive discrepancy in the registered voter rolls in the city. Charles Ellison of The Root reports that what was over 3000 new voter registrations have been revised to just over 100.

And this week, fresh questions were raised about the political situation in and around Ferguson when the St. Louis County Board of Elections suddenly revised an initial flood of 3,287 newly registered Ferguson residents down to just 128—how did that happen?

The reasons for the “discrepancy” are unclear, with county Elections Director Rita Heard Days being described on Twitter by USA Today’s Yamiche Alcindor as “flabbergasted” and denying any “hanky-panky.” Alcindor then followed up with Missouri Secretary of State Communications Director Laura Swinford, who confirmed that St. Louis County did, indeed, pull the wrong voter-registration report.

Within days of the Michael Brown shooting, there was a voter registration drive by black leaders and celebrities. Sources that spoke to Ellison said either there was a conscious attempt to disenfranchise black voters or the black advocacy groups did not follow-through on the registrations.

But fueling speculation is the bizarre silence of the St. Louis County NAACP and 100 Black Men as well as save-Ferguson social media sensations like St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, who lit up Twitter with getting-to-the-bottom-of-this proclamations, like the Aug. 21 tweet in which he boasted of an entire “morning at the Board of Elections getting maps/data to start registering every black person in Ferguson.”

French did not initially respond to multiple requests for comment, as he was preparing for a trip to China this week. However, observers and organizers familiar with the situation describe bands of fractious “social-justice warriors” and local officials preventing any unified or coherent political effort. Others describe a Game of Thrones-like scenario in which area politics are becoming tainted over questions about who wants to go after Rep. Lacy Clay’s (D-Mo.) congressional seat—which includes Ferguson—and fear among some black politicians that a clean sweep of local white politicians may alienate critical white votes needed down the road.

There has been no action taken to address the police crackdowns in the city despite numerous public forums.

 

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